The Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) Foundation has set the record straight on the alleged hoarding of COVID-19 palliatives by Kwara State Government.
Speaking during a live programme on Midland FM, Ilorin, CACOVID representative for Kwara State, Taoheed Adewale Fasasi said:
“In terms of distribution of the palliatives, it’s been an excellent performance for Kwara State especially in terms of three key things. One, identification of the beneficiaries. We’ve always feared that this could be where there will be problem because we don’t want it to get to the wrong hands. But they (state government) have been able to come up with lists that come directly from the grassroots. And, with this, we know how many families that were given. We have recordings of how many families that were given.
“We were in Jebba (Moro, Kwara North), for instance, and it was not just about distribution, we saw the families. We know where they are and what they do and things like that. The distribution was not hidden. It was more or less like CACOVID handing over to the beneficiaries. The assistance from the (State) committee has been wonderful.”
Fasasi said the monitoring and evaluation team of CACOVID was on the field to ensure that the palliatives got to the right persons across the state, asserting that its reports do not support the claims that the government hoarded the palliatives.
“It is not just about handing over to the state but ensuring that it gets to where it is supposed to get to. We always have a monitoring team. Apart from being a member, I have a monitoring team that’s also checking me at every point in time. It is CACOVID’s way of doing things. As the state committee was getting it out, we were interacting with the beneficiaries. We have the videos. We went there based on those identified,” he added.
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Reacting to the issue of looted palliatives, the Counsellor to Kwara State Governor and State Government Focal Person on the palliatives, Architect Kale Belgore explained that beneficiaries across least 15 of the 16 local governments had received their palliatives as at Friday, October 23, 2020, when the hoodlums attacked the Cargo Terminal where the palliatives were warehoused.
He added: “We were loading the one for Offa (the 16th and last local government to get theirs) on Friday when the hoodlums attacked the place. In fact, some trucks containing palliatives had left for Offa. So, the hoodlums vandalised the trucks and made away with the remaining palliatives for Offa and what was to be distributed for some umbrella bodies of some physically challenged people, the blind colony, orphanages, and correctional centres, among others.”
Meanwhile, the state government has said the palliatives that the Federal Government handed to it on October 13 were meant for victims of the recent rainstorm and flood in at least eight local government areas of the state.
The government said the distribution, which was being done by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), had been carried out in Asa, Ilorin South, Ilorin East, and parts of Ilorin West before the hoodlums looted the warehouse in Ilorin.
The government explained that the remaining palliatives that were looted were meant for the victims in Edu, Moro, Patigi and Ifelodun local governments, insisting that no palliatives were diverted or hoarded.
The palliatives, which were majorly foodstuffs, were donated across the country including Kwara State by the CACOVID Foundation as part of its support for the Nigerian government to cushion the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq had flagged off the official distribution of the palliatives on August 11, 2020, following the handover of the goods by the private sector-led body.